5 Ways commitment is like riding a bicycle I’ve studied and counseled many world class athletes, but no one has inspired me more in recent years than champion cyclist Lance Armstrong. Watching him overcome setback after setback during his unparalleled conquest of The Tour de France, I have come to view him as the model for commitment and self-discipline. As Lance has told us in his own words, “It’s not about the bike.” Can you remember when you got your first two-wheeler? It’s an experience many people can recall instantly. I’ll never forget when I got a bicycle for Christmas. My whole family stood on the lawn watching me try to take my first ride. On that day, I discovered why commitment is definitely like riding a bicycle. NULL
First, you must believe that a machine that can’t even stand by itself will transport you safely. Of course, you’ve seen it work for others, but now you’ve got to convince yourself that this form of success can actually happen to you. Second, you must let go of all forms of support and balance yourself with the sheer force of momentum by your own strength. Third, you have to lean into curves. This becomes easy enough after a while, but at the beginning – just as with snow skiing – the natural tendency is to incline yourself away from what appears to be a potentially dangerous situation. You’ve got to realize that the best way to avoid falling doesn’t involve simply staying as far as possible from the ground. Fourth, you can coast for a while, but you won’t get far if you don’t keep pedaling. The lesson there, if you’ve had the privilege of watching Lance Armstrong in action, is self-evident. Last, you’ve got to get up and try again after you’ve fallen off the bicycle. Kids will fall any number of times, but they’ll almost never say, “I quit. I’m not willing to risk falling again. Forget bicycling. I’d rather just walk or take the bus until I can afford a car.” Kids rarely attach any significance to even dozens of falls or failures. Again, we have to watch film clips of Lance Armstrong getting up from falls and tragedies time and again to understand that it’s just the price kids and champions will gladly pay for that marvelous experience of flying down the road or up a mountain under their own power.
This commitment and discipline to “paying the price” is a key quality in the mind of a champion. You could even say that if success has an entry fee, the cost is total commitment through daily discipline.
No train, no gain! Practice does indeed make for permanent performance.
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